Deanna Sims
Women’s Fund of Smith County

The view from above is often one of the most breathtaking aspects of a wedding or vacation spot.  Drones, unmanned aircrafts guided by remote control, have been used for over a hundred years by the military, but recreational drone videography has really grown in popularity in the last few years.  We love seeing life from a different perspective, one we might otherwise never be able to view. It lets us appreciate the bigger picture and often see things that may otherwise be difficult to observe.    

One of the great privileges of my role in fundraising for more than twenty years has been to assist philanthropists in making a meaningful difference with their money.  Perhaps, like few other opportunities, I am afforded a “bird’s-eye view” of not only how people choose to give, but why they choose to do so.  In other words, I get a unique glimpse into their hearts.

For a few, giving is merely a business transaction that assists them in tax benefits or corporate image.  But I’ve found that for the vast majority, generosity is much more – a compulsion stemming from a variety of motives.  Many believe in the philosophy of altruism, that it is important to help people in need.  Still others look to the impact that an organization makes in the community and the positive result their gift will bring.  But for the most significant donations, philanthropy seems to be a deeper connection to a cause that matters, many times linking to their own personal story. 

The sense of fulfillment giving provides is significant, particularly when it can be joined with other people’s gifts to bring about a greater combined result.   And that is where I found an intersection with the Women’s Fund of Smith County.

My motivation to join the Women’s Fund of Smith County ranks this year came about at their spring luncheon.  Hearing women speak about helping people in need was compelling.  Knowing that the organizations are vetted to make sure their impact will be felt was a great argument as well.  But knowing that I could link arms with other like-minded women in our community to do something better together for the good of others resonated with me deeply.  My “bird’s eye view” of generosity could use some time on ground level as well.

Non-profit work, both professionally and as a volunteer, has been a love of mine for most of my adult life.  My time at the Children’s Advocacy Center of Smith County (CACSC) has been a labor of love, not only because we are seeking to reduce trauma for abused children, but because I get to do this important work with people whom I greatly admire.  This job has been a joy!  I see that same deep-rooted delight among the volunteers who pool their resources and talents to make the Women’s Fund the great organization that it is.

Our non-profit has been fortunate to be on the receiving end of the good work of the Women’s Fund of Smith County, and the CACSC is grateful for all the ways they have helped support our unprecedented growth. I can clearly see the impact of their combined efforts on behalf of the vulnerable children we serve.

I now look forward to viewing the Women’s Fund of Smith County from a new perspective, as a new member working with women I admire to make a meaningful difference on behalf of a number of great local causes.  

If my observation over the years has taught me anything, it is that the source of real joy is generosity, and I am compelled to be a part of that connection. Our consumer-driven society tries to tell us that joy is in the “getting” – one more item on our wish list, one more accomplishment, one more experience.  But giving is truly where meaning is found – knowing that there is purpose in the intersection of our life stories and the needs of others. 

My faith has taught me that these principles are true. I Timothy 6:18-19 says to “do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life” (italics mine).  It’s also been helpful to see visible examples of generosity lived out in some of the best people I know.  Lucky am I to have such a beautiful view.

Deanna Sims, Chief Development Officer, Children’s Advocacy Center of Smith County.  Member of Women’s Fund of Smith County, Association of Fundraising Professionals, Kyle Lake Foundation Board, Junior League of Tyler, and First Baptist Church Tyler.